This is my mom’s recent travel story. She actually wrote this for her family to read but I thought you would enjoy it too!
As we checked airlines to buy our tickets for our yearly vacation to visit our son Nathan and family in Minnesota, as usual there were no direct flights. Neither of us likes to fly, and we are not what you would consider seasoned travelers. Hal gets very nervous about the long waits in the airports, so he decided to drive to Dallas this year and buy the tickets from Dallas to Minneapolis. He hadn’t driven that far that since his last heart attack, so when our eldest daughter Sara found out, she insisted on driving us to Dallas.
Esther called the airport and found out we were to leave from Gate C36, so she dropped us off there. Hal doesn’t like to ask anybody’s help (I understand many men are like that) so by my asking random strangers for help we got to the right section, the right line, obtained our boarding pass and got our one suitcase checked. We went to Gate C36, heaved a sigh, and texted all the kids that we were all set and everything was cool. The plane was to leave at 10:10. About five minutes till ten, they hadn’t said anything about our plane leaving as far as we could tell—I can’t half understand what they say on the loud speakers. We went to ask the lady at the desk, and she said we were at the wrong gate. Sure enough, our boarding pass said C28. The helpful lady who got them for us hadn’t mentioned that little detail, and it hadn’t occurred to us that it might have changed. But we had no excuse. It was there on the boarding pass, C28. We walked as fast as we could to C28 and the plane had just left. The nice lady there said she would get us on the flight that left at12:50 from gate B15. We immediately went to find it—long walk, up escalator, train ride, another long walk, and there we were at B15.
Well, we had two hours to wait. I texted Nathan, who alerted Katie and Christian, who were on their way to pick us up. He assured me they would be happy for a few hours to spend at the Mall of America. I knew Hal would be nervous just sitting there, and I was hungry. We had to walk from B15 to B25 to get expensive Big Macs. I wanted to relax and take my time eating since we had two hours after all, but Hal wanted to get back to the right gate. We were at a long table with about 8 young people speaking a strange language. I asked a friendly young man what it was, and he said Portuguese and they were from Brazil. We were continuing the interesting conversation about how well you can or can’t understand each other if one speaks Portuguese and one Spanish, but Hal was motioning me to hurry.
We trekked back to B15 to our gate. Let me say here that I had brought a small carry-on which I never do because when we had to change planes it would be that much more to keep up with. This time since we would just be at Dallas and Minneapolis, I didn’t think it would be a problem. Besides, we only wanted to pay for one suitcase, and I had a hard time getting in enough bulky warm clothes for Minnesota weather which is cold to us even in summer (60 degrees as opposed to 90-100+ in the Valley). The small carry on contained make up and medicine and vitamins, and ended up much heavier than I intended. I was going to tough it out and not let Hal know how heavy it was getting to be on these long walks, but at some point he took it from me, to my great relief, although I felt guilty that he was having to carry it so far.
Well, back at B15 I thought now we could relax. We still had a whole hour until our plane. The sign on the board still said Newark, however, so I decided to ask the nice ladies again if this was where we would get the plain for Minneapolis. No, she said, that had changed to Gate D16. I asked if we were supposed to know this. She didn’t say anything, but picked up her mike and announced the change. We weren’t the only ones who got up to leave.
Well, D16 was another long walk as we nervously watched for the signs (which are easy to follow, I must admit). It was back down the escalators, another long train ride, and another long walk. There wasn’t time for anybody to get nervous, and this time we got on the plane
They hadn’t been able to get us seats together, but a nice man switched with me. The plane ride was blessedly uneventful. Hal was worried that we wouldn’t be able to find our suitcase since it had gone on the plane we missed. But Katie and Christian were waiting for us when after another l-o-n-g walk we got to the place where you pick up baggage. They found our suitcase without any trouble. We had a four-hour drive to Nathan’s house, but we enjoyed visiting with Katie and getting to know her boy friend, Christian.
We sat down to Amy’s birthday supper of charcoal-grilled salmon, home fried potatoes, and asparagus with pimentos. I will have to tell Sara that after she drove us 10 hours to Dallas to keep Hal from getting nervous sitting extra hours in the airport, well, we didn’t have to sit, but ended up spending hours running all over the airport..